TODAY: The Orioles officially announced the move.
APRIL 24: The Orioles are set to designate left-hander Wade LeBlanc for assignment, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). Fellow lefty Zac Lowther will be recalled from the alternate training site in a corresponding move, per Kubatko.
LeBlanc started six games for the Orioles in 2020, managing only an 8.06 ERA/5.77 SIERA over 22.1 innings. Despite that poor showing, Baltimore brought the 36-year-old back on a split contract in March. The soft-tossing LeBlanc made six appearances (including a start this afternoon against the Athletics) and allowed seven runs on eleven hits, although he did strike out six while only issuing a single walk. LeBlanc has never been one to miss many bats, but his consistent strike-throwing has gotten him to the majors in thirteen of the past fourteen years.
To replace LeBlanc, the Orioles will turn to one of their more promising pitching prospects for the first time. Lowther, selected by Baltimore with the 74th overall pick in the 2017 draft, is in position to make his MLB debut. The 24-year-old doesn’t have overpowering stuff but has generally drawn praise from scouts for his deceptive delivery and decent control.
Lowther dominated during his most recent minor-league action in 2019, tossing 148 innings of 2.55 ERA ball at Double-A with a solid 25.9% strikeout rate and a slightly elevated 10.6% walk rate. Considered to be the #19 prospect in the organization by Baseball America, Lowther will be available out of the bullpen to start his MLB career, Kubtako reports.